This was my first day inside the Bella Center, the site for the Copenhagen climate conference, and most of the day was spent acclimating to the almost endless array of sessions, side events, educational displays and public exhibits.

A few highlights: Give Youth a Chance performed a sit-in and sang their self-titled single to the tune of Give Peace a Chance. Three giant trees paraded through the main hallways in protest of Finland, Sweden and Austria (watch the video). And Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai spoke about her wish to see reforestation funded under the Copenhagen agreement.

The incredible complexity of the negotiations means that targets are constantly being reworked. If you are interested in where the key pledges stand, here are a few important ones to watch, numbers crunched courtesy of Climate Interactive:

  • Costa Rica -- Carbon neutral by 2021
  • Maldives -- Carbon neutral by 2019
  • India - per capita emissions never to exceed those of Annex II nations
  • Mexico -- 8 percent below 2009 levels by 2012 & 50 percent below 2002 levels by 2050
  • Norway -- 30 percent below 1990 levels by 2020
  • EU -- 20 percent below 1990 levels & 80 percent by 2050
  • Japan -- 25 percent below 1990 levels & 60 percent below 2005 levels by 2050
  • Norway -- 30 percent below 1990 levels by 2020
  • New Zealand -- 10 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, 50 percent by 2050
  • China -- 20 percent reduction of carbon per unit of GDP + increase forest cover by 20 percent by 2010
  • Finland -- 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050
  • Iceland -- 15 percent below 1990 levels by 2020
  • Russia - 10 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, 50 percent by 2050
  • Brazil - deforestation reduced by 70 percent below 2009 levels by 2017
Though there was some excitement about both India and China's delivery of targets, they have thrown a major monkey wrench into the entire negotiations. By not using the baseline of annual carbon dioxide emissions shared by all the other countries, they create a new problem of comparing apples to oranges. 

India has linked itself to Annex II (wealthy) nations by using carbon per capita. With 1.2 billion people most of which live well below the poverty line, it's frightening to imagine that India would ever come close to the 22 tons or so per capita in the U.S. 

And China has very cleverly tied itself to the carbon intensity of its economy as a whole per unit of GDP. It can be inferred that China is betting on its continued economic growth to subsume almost certain rising greenhouse gas emissions.

As I looked at the harried faces of the climate negotiators around me, I certainly felt for them in their efforts to reconcile what seems an almost impossible political and mathematical challenge.

Here is our mini-report on Planet100:

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